PhotoThe volume of robocalls continued its downward trend in June, declining for the third month in a row and coming in 17 percent lower than March’s high water mark of 5.23 billion, according to the latest data from YouMail, a free robocall blocking solution for mobile phones. 

It’s unclear if the robocall ringleaders are retooling their schemes or if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s war on the robo world is actually starting to affect a change. 

While this sounds like good news, consumers aren’t completely out of the woods, yet. “This three-month decline in robocall volumes is a positive development,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici, said. “However, we have already exceeded 29 billion robocalls so far this year, which is still nearly 90 calls per person in the U.S.”

From Quilici’s perch, he sees the biggest decline coming from scam and telemarketing robocalls with the scam variety declining in monthly volume by over 450 million calls since April.

On the flip side, though, health-related scam calls -- ones with the pretense of the consumer “pre-approved for health insurance,” but actually with the goal of identity theft, scam payments, and illegal solicitations -- continue to rise. In June, the health robo ilk grew by nearly 8 million to 248.9 million, making it the number one scam of the month. The top five are as follows:

Rank

Type of Scam

Estimated June Robocalls

Summary of Scam

1

Health/Health Insurance Scams

248.9m (+7.9 million)

Identity theft/scam payments/illegal solicitations

2

Student Loans Scams

144m (-39.7 million)

Identity theft/scam payments

3

Interest Rate Scams

139.2m (-21.3 million)

Identity theft

4

Social Security Scams

100.5 (-5.5 million)

Fake search listing fees

5

Easy Money Scams

88m (-23.4 million)

Make money fast scams

Robocallers continue to love the South

It’s hard to call an area a “winner” when it’s actually on the losing end of the robo equation, but Atlanta, Texas, and Louisiana continue to be the robo world’s favorite places to do its thing. The table below details the cities, area codes, and states with the highest volumes of robocalls in June. 

City with the Most Robocalls:

Atlanta, GA (171.3 million)

City with the Most Robocalls/Person:

Washington, DC (44.4/person)

Area Code with the Most Robocalls:

404 in Atlanta, GA (71.7 million)

Area Code with the Most Robocalls/Person:

404 in Atlanta, GA (58.6/person)

State with the Most Robocalls:

Texas (507.5 million)

State with the Most Robocalls/Person:

Louisiana (28/person)

FCC still unhappy with phone companies

On Thursday, FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks released responses to his inquiry into the availability of free, default robocall blocking services from the major telephone companies -- and he didn’t mince his disappointment with their sluggish efforts.

“Despite historically clamoring for new tools, it does not appear that all providers have acted with haste to deploy opt-out robocall blocking services,” Starks said. “The Commission spoke clearly: we expect opt-out call blocking services to be offered to consumers for free.  Reviewing the substance of these responses, by and large, carriers’ plans for these services are far from clear.”

What Starks might be pointing to are responses like Google talking about the “notable tools” it already has in place or Sprint’s pushback that the FCC’s SHAKEN/STIR initiative has no built-in liability protection for carriers.

“In our action last month, the Commission committed to studying this issue and delivering a progress report within a year. If we find that carriers are acting contrary to our expectations, we will commence a rulemaking,” Starks said. “To that end, as I noted in my letters, I expect to be updated by carriers as progress is made on offering free call blocking services and recommend that carriers not stop until the job is finished. The sooner, the better.”


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